Friday, December 19, 2008

thoreau would be proud

My darling son D never does anything the "regular" way. He will purposefully get answers wrong on various assignments, just to mix it up a bit.

This is challenging for me in the discernment department, sometimes: did he get it wrong because he's pretending to be ignorant; or is he, in fact, ignorant of the correct answer?

I've just returned from cleaning out the van in preparation for my parents' soon arrival from CA (just in time for another ice or snow event here in the greater Pacific Northwest--joy to the world!). While cleaning, I discovered a Sunday school paper completed by my son. I can't blame him for his answers-- the writing prompts are hokey. Nonetheless, I pity his Sunday school teacher, who is a dear, sweet lady. If she quits, I don't know what we'll do.

Here's the text:
If I Were a Light (finish the phrases)
I would want to hang out at. . .

(D's answer)a bowling alley


I would like to light the way for...
A Moose


I would increase my brightness by...
extinguishing a flaming chicken



I do not know what spiritual application was made in this lesson (nor have I asked) - but there's just not much base material to work with here, do you see what I'm saying?

So I can't fault his dumb answers to dumb prompts. Way to go, Regular Baptist Press. I'm not very impressed with your new curricula if this is representative.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weather Report. Boring to non-native Washingtonians. Ignore.

Issued by The Weather Channel

7:17 pm PST, Thu., Dec. 18, 2008



The latest snowfall reports from The National Weather Service in Seattle, WA: 9 miles northeast of Arlington, 27.5"... 5 miles north of Grand Mound, 11.5"... near Olympia, 9.0"... 15 miles west of Port Angeles, 9.0"... near Bellevue, 7.2"... Federal Way, 6.5"... Rainier, 6.0"... 10 miles southeast of Bremerton, 6.0"... 5 miles south of Bethel, 4.2"... 8 miles south of Lacey, 4.0"... 11 miles west of Artondale, 4.0"... near Hite Center, 4.0"... 12 miles east of Shelton, 3.5"... Mountlake Terrace, 3.5"... near Puyallup, 3.0"... 5 miles north of Seattle, 3.0"... near Everett, 3.0"... 4 miles east of Mount Vernon, 2.5"... near Fort Lewis, 2.0"... near Auburn, 1.8"... near Seattle, up to 6.0"... near Redmond, up to 11.0"... near Frederickson, up to 3.0". Stay tuned to The Weather Channel or go to weather.com for further updates on this winter weather event.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

american idolater

So I haven't posted much lately, because, frankly, you don't want to hear about it.

I haven't been extremely successful in any particular venture. Indeed, I haven't felt like I've done anything well for the last 6-8 weeks, perhaps longer. I'm in a state of barely-controlled chaos: from home management, to child rearing, to homeschooling, to time management, to disciplines of Grace like a regular time in God's Word.

As I lay awake in the frigid wee sma's, reflecting on my non-success (something sure to keep any person sleepless and depressed), it occurred to me that this is just another area where I can't admit to myself or other people that, really, I am a mess sometimes. Why not, though? Because I'd look bad? Oh, yeah, that's Pride, isn't it.

And actually, as I thought further about this current winter of my discontent...the source of my discontent is myself. I'm not happy with the way things are going. I'm not comfortable. MY needs aren't being met. Oh, yeah, that's Self, isn't it? I'm bowing to the altar of Myself and then wondering why it's so unsatisfying.

So my natural reaction is to pull an ostrich, burying my head in the sand and pretending it'll all go away (further compounding the problems). Don't want to step on the scale until I've had a good week. Don't want to let people see the cracks in the veneer until I can get my act together. Don't want to run to God until I get myself all fixed up.

How backwards to think that I can bring anything to God except my pitiful, broken self anyway! He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. And those who walk in pride, He is able to humble. So the choice is pretty easy: I can humble myself in the sight of the Lord, and allow Him to lift me up, or let Him do the humbling for me.

Perhaps that is just what He's doing.

The words of the hymn text seem to fit my need at this point in my life:


Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, / Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you, / Full of pity, love and pow'r.

Come, ye needy, come, and welcome, / God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance, / Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden, / Bruised and broken by the Fall;
If you tarry till you're better, / You will never come at all.

Let not conscience make you linger, / Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth / Is to feel your need of Him.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

the most wonderful hectic time of the year

I quit teaching piano.


Did I surprise you? Well, temporarily quit, at least. :) I will resume in January.

But honestly... what kid or family needs ONE MORE THING on his/her plate right now? At this time of year, when we're expected to focus on family, friends, togetherness, giving, sharing--I find myself wondering whether we put too many burdens on ourselves to perform to others' satisfaction. Christmas is a good thing, yes! Celebrating the Savior's birth - a good great thing! Family, friends, togetherness--good things!

But all these "good things" add up to one hefty draft on the bank account of our finite, precious TIME. Then those good things turn into so much irritation at yet another demand to fulfill --just because it's a "good thing" to do.

Simplify, simplify......

Thursday, November 20, 2008

To God all Praise and Glory.

I am overwhelmed and profoundly grateful.

Bob Jones University posted this page on its website today about their past racial policies. This is amazing for this institution.

I thank God for 1.) the humility and grace He gave to the administration to admit past wrongs, and 2.) the humble spirit with which the organizers of Please-Reconcile.org have handled the entire approach to the University.

I am certain that the letter has not officially made it to the University yet, but clearly the administration has noted what has taken place.

Here's the BJU post:
Statement about Race at Bob Jones University

At Bob Jones University, Scripture is our final authority for faith and practice and it is our intent to have it govern all of our policies. It teaches that God created the human race as one race. History, reality and Scripture affirm that in that act of creation was the potential for great diversity, manifested today by the remarkable racial and cultural diversity of humanity. Scripture also teaches that this beautiful, God-caused and sustained diversity is divinely intended to incline mankind to seek the Lord and depend on Him for salvation from sin (Acts 17:24–28).

The true unity of humanity is found only through faith in Christ alone for salvation from sin—in contrast to the superficial unity found in humanistic philosophies or political points of view. For those made new in Christ, all sinful social, cultural and racial barriers are erased (Colossians 3:11), allowing the beauty of redeemed human unity in diversity to be demonstrated through the Church.

The Christian is set free by Christ’s redeeming grace to love God fully and to love his neighbor as himself, regardless of his neighbor’s race or culture. As believers, we demonstrate our love for others first by presenting Christ our Great Savior to every person, irrespective of race, culture, or national origin. This we do in obedience to Christ’s final command to proclaim the Gospel to all men (Matthew 28:19–20). As believers we are also committed to demonstrating the love of Christ daily in our relationships with others, disregarding the economic, cultural and racial divisions invented by sinful humanity (Luke 10:25–37; James 2:1–13).

Bob Jones University has existed since 1927 as a private Christian institution of higher learning for the purpose of helping young men and women cultivate a biblical worldview, represent Christ and His Gospel to others, and glorify God in every dimension of life.

BJU’s history has been chiefly characterized by striving to achieve those goals; but like any human institution, we have failures as well. For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it.

In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful.

On national television in March 2000, Bob Jones III, who was the university’s president until 2005, stated that BJU was wrong in not admitting African-American students before 1971, which sadly was a common practice of both public and private universities in the years prior to that time. On the same program, he announced the lifting of the University’s policy against interracial dating.

Our sincere desire is to exhibit a truly Christlike spirit and biblical position in these areas. Today, Bob Jones University enrolls students from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, representing various ethnicities and cultures. The University solicits financial support for two scholarship funds for minority applicants, and the administration is committed to maintaining on the campus the racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world.



I have no words, except Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Update on "Fishing at the Park"

You might remember that last summer D came home from a fishing trip with his arms full of guinea pig instead of trout.

Well our rescued piggy is now featured on the front web page of the Foggy Creek Cavy Rescue.

Sniff. Our Oreo piggy, a star--except his stage name has become "Zebra," apparently. We can always say "we knew him when."

the appliances have ears

Just last week A. was commenting on our Sharp microwave--how well it's held up! We purchased it immediately following our trip to Israel back in 1995, and it's been going strong ever since. 13 years for a small appliance - not bad, considering the way things are built to be disposable in this day and age.

The following Sunday I was reheating leftovers for our meal following church, and the trusty, faithful microwave sputtered, flickered, and sank into lifelessness, sounding very much like an organ grinder who has suddenly run out of grind.

We shouldn't have spoken in its presence, I'm convinced. It realized it was one of a kind---learning that its peers were long since cluttering a landfill somewhere, it just couldn't face life alone anymore.

We now have a new Sharp microwave in its place. And we will be very careful not to tell it how old it is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Please Reconcile - an open letter to Bob Jones University

In general, I am not a political person. I am not a rabble rouser. I avoid conflict and confrontation.

The majority of you who come here will likely be unfamiliar with the link I'm posting above. I rarely discuss my roots or much personal information, though some of you might know I grew up in California.

And I virtually never mention the fact that I am a graduate of Bob Jones University. The primary reason is explained in that link above.

To be honest, when I first applied to attend there and was accepted, I did not realize that the school's past was linked with segregational/racist policies. It wasn't immediately apparent there in campus life, either; it simply didn't come up all that often for me to consider seriously, and it didn't affect me personally. I'm just some white girl; nothing extraordinary about me.

Now, however, I look back at certain events that occurred during my time there (2 specific instances of "whites" being counseled/forbidden to date "Asians") and I grieve about this-- the damage done to the testimony of Jesus Christ and His Church. And I regret that I didn't have the boldness to stand up and say something at the time. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I'm by nature a non-confrontational person--though that is not an excuse.

I didn't realize that the association of my college degree would carry over into my first job interview, post-graduation. I was applying for a teaching position at a Christian school, when the principal asked me what I thought about the school's celebrating Martin Luther King Day. I wasn't sure where this question was going, to be honest. I don't remember what I answered--though I am a big fan of just about any holiday off from school ;). What floored me and sickened me was the follow-up question: "What do you feel about having a black student in your class?" I stammered out a response; why should I care what color a kid is? They're all just people! But the name of the granting institution on my degree colored (hah) certain assumptions about me as a person.

No matter how many times I tried to say, "it wasn't like that, REALLY, it wasn't" - I would hear examples of old-school graduates who, sadly, WERE. My English teacher colleague/friend Claire Teague commented to me she'd never met a BJU graduate who was as laid-back as I and Jim Mailloux (another BJ grad and colleague @ the school) were about race/segregation. My elementary teacher colleague, who, upon hearing I attended Bob Jones, said, "Oh, he was the racist, right?" (She later came to me, weeping and apologetic if she had hurt my feelings. Judi, you don't need to apologize for anything.) My friend whose grandparents-in-law - BJU affiliated - disapproved of her marrying their grandson, because she is Asian.

It's grievous. It's a blight on those who name the name of Christ. It's a reproach.

So there is a call from the alumni and past students to the current administration to make things right. Be it known that I am a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, charged with keeping the school true to the Faith delivered once for all to the saints.

May the testimony of Christ shine forth clearly.

Edit: I am not posting this because I'm a disgruntled soul with an axe to grind. I am jealously watching out for the reputation of an institution that I have loved through the years, in hopes that wrongs can be made right.

Other alumni have been much more eloquent than I am in this instance, and if I knew how to do trackback things, I would.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the last man on earth = the last kid awake

D. awoke this morning, barking like a seal, voice high and reedy. Could I find the thermometer? No. I have a pretty good sense of what a fever feels like, though, and he definitely was on the warm side. That, plus no appetite--strong indicators that the child is not well. So D and I spent the morning at home, away from church people.

After he woke up and nibbled a few bites of oatmeal, followed by a cup of hot tea, he settled in to watch some 50's Sci-fi/horror movies (he's a fan of the monster genre), while I continued to work on my list from yesterday, occasionally pausing to visit Piper's web site, Bible Gateway, SermonAudio, etc.

D decided to watch an old Vincent Price movie called The Last Man on Earth. I warned him. Vampire zombies are one thing by daylight (flopped lifeless on the ground) - but after dark are quite another thing all together--and can be rather nervewracking.

He scorned my advice. "Mom. (eyeroll) This isn't scary at all." I decided to let it pass.



So guess which kid is still awake right now, wanting company--ANY company, so long as he doesn't have to be alone?

the unexpected task

Saturdays are catch-up days around here. The mowing-grass, pick-up yards, clean guinea pig cages, do some extra laundry and tidy the house days. Swish and swipe the bathroom sink, mirror, and floor days. Cook a few meals and put them in the fridge for busy weekdays days.

On that last front, I sent D to the garage freezer to retrieve some frozen Bubba (the name of the beef cow we purchased from Jennifer - it's so trendy-green to meet your meat!). He returned, saying he couldn't find any. This I knew to be inaccurate--we bought a quarter of a cow and I know that what's left of Bubba takes up the entire top shelf. I went out to the garage to prove my dear son wrong...obviously he hadn't looked hard enough.

When I got there, though, I couldn't find any Bubba either--not easily. Apparently someone decided to set up a shave-ice business in my freezer by leaving the door ajar. Here in Western Washington, all that moisture in the air makes great, furry icicles on the freezer coils.

So with a sunny day outside, I decided I had time to unplug, empty, and defrost the freezer. An unexpected task, but necessary if we were ever to locate food to eat from our stockpiles. I loaded the berries into one laundry basket, the corn, fish and chicken into the next, and finally uncovered Bubba from the top. Some parts of Bubba refused to leave the freezer, glued by ice to the coils, fighting for their very... well, if not life, at least avoidance of consumption.
I let them remain for the time being.

Armed with a kettle of boiling water and some crummy towels, I set the hot pot in the freezer to let the kettle do its work while I went back to my Saturday "can we fix it? yes we can!" list.

A. must have thought I had too much to do on my list, because while I was in between cooking a pot roast and cleaning guinea pigs, he took over the defrosting task (thanks!).

Meanwhile, I got two meals prepared: Bubba barley soup with butterhorn rolls, and pot roast Bubba. The butterhorns were a test-drive recipe to see if they'd be suitable to bring to Thanksgiving dinner with the Millers next week. Unfortunately, I let the milk/butter on the stove get too hot, so I think I killed the yeast in the bread dough. The flavor was great; the texture, not so much. (I have yeast bread issues. Successful breads from my kitchen almost always originate with my Breadmaster, rather than my kneading prowess.) Then again, I checked the yeast jar, and the expiration stamp said "SEPT 2008," so I may not have been completely to blame. Verdict: try again. I don't consider any baking project to be beyond my grasp. (Miffed Sniff)

Dinner last night was ground Bubba dolled up with a jar of Trader Joe's Eggplant Caponata (the family says BUY THIS AGAIN), served over linguini noodles. Basically, spaghetti with meat sauce, but oh, the sauce! A. will be near a TJ's tomorrow when he takes S. to choir, so I'll send him with a shopping list.

The evening wore on, and, after getting kids in and out of bathing (D actually went without a fuss), laying out "clothes kids" (making sure we have matching/ironed clothes), and preparing church bulletins for Sunday, I finally got my carcass to bed about 11:45 p.m.

I love my bed. It's a Select Comfort sleep number bed. My number is 40. (This has been an unpaid commercial announcement.) Last night I lay there, relaxing, rewinding through the events of the day.

My heart gave a throb.

Freezer.

So with my husband lightly snoring next to me, I sighed, sat up, and headed back to the garage, where, sure enough--all the berries and meat sat in laundry baskets--a little softer than before, true, but at least not the carrion I would find if I had remembered the following morning.

Bubba bits are back on the top shelf, with frozen veggies and other meats on the second. The berries and a casserole are on the bottom two shelves. All is well, all is refrozen, all is de-iced.

I don't quite know what the moral of this story is, other than if it wasn't on your list, and you start it, you'd better be sure you finish it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wow! Gas is 2.07 @ costco! I just filled my tank for under 30 bucks!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

tag (x3), I'm it

Thanks, Christy, Rebecca and Crystal, for assuming that I actually have something interesting and random to share. Well, random I can do....interesting, not always so much.

7 random things about me, that may or may not be interesting:

1. I have nightmares about the kids destroying the house in some way. I dream that there's crud all over the floor, or puddles of chocolate (well, that really happened once), or broken glass, or a tipped-over bag of potting soil seeping down into my carpet. Then I (in my dream state) proceed to feel extremely guilty: WHY didn't I know this had happened? HOW LONG has it been this way and I didn't know? I must be such a horrible mom/wife/housekeeper because my house looks this way - can't I even keep track of my kids? Where ARE the kids, anyway? I have dreams like this several times a month, and I wake up, anxious, heart pounding, and depressed.

2. I love, love, love California roll sushi. I learned how to make it this past summer. Great thing is, I am the ONLY person in my house who likes it, so the treat is all mine, MINE I tell you.

3. I don't like to stand by the side of the bed. When I was a kid, I would always enter bed by climbing up from the foot. The monsters weren't expecting me to get in down there; I tricked 'em that way. Nowadays I DO enter from the side, but I catch myself quickly swinging up my feet, out of reach of the edge of the bed......just in case, you understand. If you're clever, some of you can divine the scariest part (for me) of the movie The Sixth Sense.

4. I hate to go shopping for clothes. It's very stressful. I have to go alone, because it takes my total concentration, and I can't be bothered with short ones talking to me, asking me to buy thisnthat... I love it, though, when someone hands me a big bag and says, "Here, look and see if there's anything in here that you like, and give away the rest."

5. I'm exceptional at grammar, usage and mechanics of the English language. (You are hereby ordered to ignore all errors on my own blog forthwith.) I have a flair button on my facebook page that says "Yes, I corrected your grammar. Trust me, it sounds better my way." Now, I'm not as bad as all that--I will not SAY anything. But I will think it, and I cannot help myself.

6. We keep guinea pigs around so they can mow the backyard grass during the summer. That's why A. tolerates them: they're utilitarian pets. They're also cute little fuzzballs, which is why I have four of them. I'd have more if space allowed. Next summer I want to get some chickens, too--make one of those chicken tractors, and have fresh eggs (no more sweat shop eggs, a la Seinfeld).

7. I can sing a high C, but I'm an alto.

does the exception prove the rule?

When you're taking educational method classes in college, you are taught to praise a child's work ethic, rather than his intelligence. Compare "Wow, you really worked hard on this-- and I can tell" with, "Wow, you did great on this - you must be really smart"

Praising a child's persistence and determination actually goes much farther in building a student's learning habits. Why? Because the next time your student faces a difficult problem, s/he will be more likely to think, "Hey, if I work hard enough, I can come up with the answer." The student who's praised for his intelligence tends to cave under the pressure of a difficult problem, reasoning thus: "I don't understand this. I must not be very smart after all."

So today, while studying math word problems involving fractions, D was presented with this question on his assessment: "There were 56 students on a track team and 16 of them won first-place ribbons. What fractional part of the team won first-place ribbons?"

After about 10 minutes of deliberation, D finally came up with the answer of 16/56, reduced to lowest terms: 2/7.

Naturally I came forth with the praise for "job well done, lad - you worked hard, and you found out the answer all by yourself, and you were RIGHT. How does that feel?" (Must praise the student for his hard work, not his intelligence, after all--the cognitive science shows that!)

And my dear son replied, "Kinda makes me wonder if it was worth all that time and effort."

Clearly, a boy after Thoreau's heart.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Spit. Spit and blast it all.

(Insert more extreme grousing here). David Tennant is LEAVING DOCTOR WHO.

What else is there to say, other than.....WHY did Russell Davies have Ten go through some bogus regeneration bit ---back into himself at the series 4 end?! And does that count as a true regeneration (making him really Ten and Eleven), because Time Lords only get 13 regenerative cycles? Though somehow the Master, renegade Time Lord that he is, got more regenerations allotted to him somehow. Stole 'em off some other Time Lord when they weren't looking?

anyway. JUST...... MEH.

Translation: David Tennant is my favorite Doctor ever. EVER. Drat, Drat, Drat.

Sorry, this isn't coherent, it's just raving lunacy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

mental blogging

Yanno, ever since I put that button over there <--- for BWO (Blogging Without Obligation) - I've noticed that my posting has become ever more inconsistent. Maybe it should be BWW: Blogging Without Writing. Or Mental Blogging. Blogging Without Actually Doing It.

Whatever it is, I don't feel guilty about it in the slightest, though I am feeling rather disconnected from all of you whom I keep on my blogroll! (Which, BTW, I keep short, because I haven't got time for the guilt of not staying "aware" of you if you're on there and i don't read your carefully-crafted pearls of wisdom!)

I thank you, those of you who prayed for me. The retreat was last Friday/Saturday, following immediately on the heels of a visit from Grandma Karen from Michigan. The challenge was to properly honor and spend time with one we see rarely, as well as properly pray and prepare my soul for being the speaker at a ladies' retreat!

The Lord is good: by staying up to ungodly hours (ooh, irony) and getting up even earlier, I was able to scrape together some hermit time to prepare three different, yet connected, messages.

I have this thing about public speaking: I can't do it, unless the topic is incredibly important and relevant to me. So that's been my prayer--that the Lord would give me exactly what I need to change and grow, so I can pass that along to others who might need to hear the same thing. Otherwise, why should any woman waste her money and time just to hear another talking head?

The theme was Walk Worthy, from Colossians 1:10 - but I immediately felt determined that this was NOT going to be just another list of what good Christian moms ought to DO, to DRESS LIKE, to READ, to STYLE THEIR HAIR LIKE. I come from a background of too much cart preceeding too little horse.

So Friday night message was "The Cross: The WHY of Walking Worthy" --subtitled Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing: I shared the Gospel of Christ. And because I couldn't say it any better than the Lord, after the introductory comments and so forth, I just shared scripture passages telling of the Father's love for us, His mercy, our hopelessness without Him, our living Hope, Jesus Christ. How our lives lived post-salvation are to be structured around not some rule or list as if that were the all-important thing, but that our love for the Lord would control/inspire us. He gave ALL for us. This is why we are to walk worthy of the Lord.

Saturday morning was "Abiding: the HOW of Walking Worthy" --jumping into John 15, where we're told we can do NOTHING apart from abiding in the Vine, Jesus Christ. We spend too much time laboring to produce fruit, when fruit is something that occurs naturally by being in the Vine. Harriet Beecher Stowe had some amazing remarks that I came across (thanks to A.) last summer, which were great to close with. And even better - Ephesians 2:10 - We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared for us beforehand. God prepared the good works for me. And coolest of all: workmanship is the Greek word poiema: POEM. Though some days I might feel like the "stodgiest of prose" (I'm sure that's a LM Montgomery quote from one of the Emily books)- I'm actually a poem. :)

Saturday afternoon was where I felt I needed some bolstering. I did not want to conclude all this by turning to the list of What To Do To Walk Worthy In Three Easy Steps. So in steps Lisa with a suggestion that I get (and quickly, too) Living The Cross-Centered Life by CJ Mahaney. (ooh, I see that Tim Challies is the #1 reviewer on Amazon. Can the force of commendation any further go? I digress...) So the final message I spoke on "Put Those Plates Down!" Ironically enough, many is the time I've likened my life to a series of spinning plates that I have to keep in the air, or I absolutely suck at (insert whatever failing of mine here.) So I was riveted to the book when Pastor Mahaney specifically mentioned the sideshow act of spinning plates, trying to earn God's love, favor, and approval--WHICH WE ALREADY HAVE. We are never "more saved" or more loved than we are right now. I was so encouraged and blessed by that thought... I knew it, but I hadn't really believed it, because I feel like I'm in a rat race so much of the time. I have to learn anew to stop and realign my thinking to match the Word, when I'm feeling overdrawn, resentful, rebellious, and irritated.

Anyway, that's the basic gist of it. I was encouraged by the Word that I studied, and I was glad to have fellowship with the ladies. One lady even gave me a handmade bracelet with Swarovski (sp?) crystals on it, representing the Fruit of the Spirit, following the John 15 message. That was unexpected, and totally nice of her. It's beautiful too, and I'm not much for wearing jewelry.

The retreat did take its toll on me; Sunday was pretty much spent in a mental and physical fog. By yesterday, however, I was caught up on sleep. (I'm depriving myself now by Actually Blogging, rather than Mentally Blogging, but that's beside the point.)

So it's 11:04 p.m. and I'm going to take my advice to myself and get some rest. :) (That means Facebook too!) Wednesday looms large: I have about 3 hours of solid schooling with the kids before the piano students come all afternoon/early evening.

I'll try to catch up with you all come Thursday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shirt: just pretend i'm not here. That's what i'm doing .

people watching

Yesterday during my shift at the Puyallup Fair Museum, I was approached by a woman who looked like Margaret Thatcher, from her coif to her big bow at her throat, to her elegant pumps.

"You have a nice smile, E_." (obviously she can read my nametag.)

"Thank you." (I smile again; what other response is there?)

"Do you know what the ingredients are for a Honeymoon Salad?"

This question, though a complete non sequitur for an opening salvo, does not faze me. Quirky people amuse me, and I know the answer.

"Lettuce alone."

"Lettuce alone, no dressing!"

I chuckle. She tries once more on me.

"If you're an American in the kitchen, then what are you in the bathroom?"

"European."

She's amazed at me, I can tell.

"How do you know all this?"

"I have a father."



That was all the quizzing I received from her. She'd have to step it up quite a bit to catch me on one of those oldy moldy witticisms.

We'll see who I meet today... it's the weekend, when the weirdos come out to The Fair.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shirt: "i see dumb people.."

Monday, September 01, 2008

of ants and cryptids

"Mom, can you hand me the can of WD-40?"

"Sure....why?"

"It belongs in the shed. I'll put it away."

That in itself should have roused my suspicions. My son never just puts anything away.


Earlier yesterday afternoon, he had used a magnifying glass to some purpose on the ant colony that lives in the crack of our driveway. A veritable swarm of ants came out to see what was cooking, literally. The ants who successfully navigated their way up his pant leg did not leave him unmarked. Their displeasure at his disturbance resulted in 7 or 8 nice-looking bites on his left knee and thigh.

So when it was time to leave for evening church, I noticed hordes of ants, dead, around the crack in the driveway. Apparently D has discovered that aerosol spray makes a totally awesome flamethrower. A pox on whoever let that gem of knowledge slip to my overactive son. The neighbors should never rest easy now unless there's a fire extinguisher close at hand. Even more disturbing is that I didn't know he was at it until the deed had long been done and over with. (Canning tomatoes is such an engrossing activity, you know.)

Today he has decided, in the spirit of last week's Bigfoot hoax (which, incidentally, was heralded with great grief under this roof), to perpetrate a hoax of his own. Puyallup needs a cryptid of its own, by golly, and he's the one to do it.

The plan involves a baby dragon of some type. Dragons, of course, breathe fire--apparently yesterday's success with the ants gave rise to some further creativity and planning. I, however, will be a total wet blanket to any further flamethrowing activity. This is extremely unpopular with my son, but I am concerned for the Greater Good here.

Now he is looking for stink bombs or smoke bombs left over from July 4.

Not for nothing does he own a t-shirt that says "Every great idea I have gets me in trouble."

Friday, August 29, 2008

i'm not fluffy at heart, really...

Okay, I'm outing myself, because I really need the prayer support, if you feel called to give it.

A few months ago I was asked to be the speaker at a ladies' retreat. My husband felt I should say yes to this opportunity, since he will be speaking at the same retreat, but to the teens. (If we could find someone to watch our children, which we have.)

I write a lot of fluff here, I know that. I find it difficult to speak of things that are close to my heart and/or personal. I'm the one who wants everyone to get along and be happy and share a laugh or two together.

I am intimidated at the thought of this retreat. What can I say in 3 different sessions that these ladies need to hear? I do not want these women to sacrifice their precious time and money to attend this retreat, only for them to leave spiritually hungry and feeling like it was a waste of time.

So would you just pray for me, that I would present Christ to these women, and that I would fade out of the picture?

The theme is "Walk Worthy" - which has many many MANY ways to be approached. I've been doing quite a bit of reading, as well as praying ("HELP!"), but now that there's about one month left, I need to start narrowing it down to the three messages I need to give.

Thanks for reading. And for praying.

Monday, August 25, 2008

the REAL text message I sent:

I am sitting in the van, having just dropped the kids at swim lessons. D has been treating me to a super-size helping of grouse. Naturally, swimming interferes with his ideal plans for what a summer day should be. Should I tell him that we're starting school-lite this week?
I am sitting in the van, having just dropped the kids at swim lessons. D has been treating me to a super-size helping of gr

Friday, July 18, 2008

defenders of the blueberry patch

I'm grateful for the fact that we have 5 lovely blueberry bushes of different varieties and sizes. At this time of year, we spend probably 30 minutes daily harvesting those berries that have passed from pale green, to blush red, to a plump, frosty blue.

We aren't the only ones who enjoy the blueberries, either. Sparrows, chickadees, and cedar waxwings all enjoy swooping in for a few pecks... sometimes even while I'm in the bush, picking!

So we daily defend our harvest against those thieving birds! I realize that they don't get away with all that much, so I don't begrudge them a few nibbles here and there. Plus, when the elderberries come in, they'll be able to gorge themselves, because our bushes produce more elderberries than I can possibly handle or use.


On other fronts:

D went frogging several times this week and brought home Charlie and Twitch. (This is Charlie)

They're now living in the turtle pond in the backyard. I hope they have the wits not to become dinner for the red-eared sliders. I'm fond of frogs and would hate to see that happen.

My kidlet S is very interested in American Girl things. She has the doll that's her namesake, she gets the magazine, she has all the movies.

The magazines always feature kid-friendly recipes and crafts for her to try, and so as a result she's made some "stained glass" cookies (cut out cookies with melted jolly ranchers in the middle), she's made some kind of tempura paint/waterbottle/fish thing--all kinds of neat, girlish things. The most recent magazine featured ice cream sandwiches, which nobody really needs, but she was dying to try them out. So we baked our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and she prepared them for the family using chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from Tillamook, and rolled the edges in chocolate chips. Decadent stuff.

Meanwhile, I was "facebooking" (a fabulous time waster I might add) and not really monitoring what was going on. So when it was time for bed, S came groaning and whimpering into my room, "Mooomm, I feeeell siiiiick...."

Upon questioning, I discovered that, FIRST, she'd eaten a whole bowl of ice cream. THEN, because the weather is so hot, and everything was melting so fast... she'd also eaten THREE ice cream sandwiches!!!

She got no sympathy from me, but perhaps she learned a lesson: both about the sin of gluttony, and WHERE YOU CAN PUT THINGS if they're melting and you don't want them to. (smacking head and rolling eyes).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fishing at the park

D considers any day not spent with some time fishing as a day wasted. So yesterday afternoon, as usual, he packed up his pole and gear and headed off to the park a block away.

He returned around dinnertime, hands full with his catch:



Notice the complete lack of fins and scales there?

The story runs like this: he was fishing off the dock, when a lady walking her dog came by and mentioned she had seen a guinea pig over in the brush nearby. Not only that, but she'd seen it there several weeks previously, so this little guy's been on his own in the wild for a good bit. D, having much experience with our 4 escape-prone guinea pigs, put his trapping skills to work, and soon succeeded in catching the little wheeker and bringing him home.

Now, I'm all for guinea pigs, but we already have four FEMALES. We most certainly cannot keep a male! So tomorrow he'll be going to the Foggy Creek Cavy Rescue up in Auburn, where Lisa will treat him for mites and get him on the road to recovery (he's missing a great deal of fur on his back half) and then adopt him out to another family.

I've been telling the kids not to get attached, but they've already named him Oreo. I call him Shaggy.

The kids were inspired to write about it in their own blog, which they set up yesterday. I'm keeping it private, but if you're really interested to see how my kids think and write, email me and I'll put you on the approved list. :)


So tomorrow might be traumatic for the kids. We'll see. But Oreo has got to go. I do NOT need 12 guinea pigs around here, which is what would surely happen were he to stay.

number one son is 1-1!

Here's some pictures of D and his luau party in our backyard and surrounding environs. I didn't have any Don Ho music to play, drat!

He wanted an island cake:




We made tie-dyed t-shirts - but I made everyone wear trashbags so clothes wouldn't get ruined. N. was visiting from Eastern WA, so we were glad he could join us at the party.... he's pictured here with S, who is MY S's dearest friend. (Lotta "S" names around here!)



SUCH a clever boy... always polite for the camera.




The turtle had the right idea: shaded from the sun, right near the water.

... and the living is easy

Ah, it's been restful... kids away at Church Camp last week... painting the Master bedroom a lurvely sage green color... soaking in the kiddie pool when the temps were in the 90's... actually studying the Word of God for extended periods of time without being interrupted or losing my train of thought... piano lessons only one day per week...

if I believed in Nirvana, this would definitely come close.

Here's a few kidlet pics of our recent Seattle Center trip - D and S and lil' buddy S.


We don't know if we were allowed to play in this fountain or not... but we saw other kids doing it, so we figured why not? Plus an employee drove right by us in his golf cart without hollering at us, so we decided it was okay.




This fountain we KNOW we can play in. It's got a nice sloping pathway for you to walk down to the dome and get squirted. You just might be able to see S there over to the right, wearing her purple swim shirt and trunks.






The obligatory Space Needle shot. :)

More photos to come!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

filing away for future blackmail

Today's topic: personal hygiene.

Our subject: 10yo male, firstborn, Type A personality

The circumstances: He failed to use soap/shampoo in the shower he was persuaded (under duress) to take. So he had to take another shower, his father threatening to come in to the shower WITH HIM and scrub his head for him. This did not actually transpire, but the idea of his father coming IN TO THE SHOWER and viewing him in his altogether put the fear of God into the boy so he actually used soap.


His enraged quote (at the top of his lungs, whilst in the shower the second time): "Hygiene stinks! It's pointless! It's disgusting!"


The family's collective mocking did not improve his mood any, but at least the boy is next to godliness now.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"what we did in the month of May"

1) Finished the concert series with South Sound Classical Choir. Yes, the sound tech came to the final concert and he made a good recording. I'm too lazy to go find one of those players right now to put on my blog sidebar so you can hear me-n-Kari playing.

2) Had a great visit with Grandma K from Michigan. We went to the Woodland Park Zoo with her and as part of a school field trip. We also planned to go whale watching up in the San Juan Islands, but alas, one of the Victoria Clipper ferries was having mechanical difficulties, so they had to cancel the whale trip. We got a refund, but that's not as satisfying as seeing orcas up close and personal.

3) I had a battle with boiling caramel for my popcorn, and the caramel won. My middle finger of my left hand will have a lovely, inch-long burn scar on it. The bandage made playing the piano rather interesting for a week or so.

4) Celebrated my 38th birthday and my 17th anniversary! Still deciding how to spend the birthday booty, but pretty sure it involves kitchen gadgetry, or bike things.

5) Snapped a photo with my cell phone at the outrageous price of gasoline on May 9, 2008: $3.79 a gallon! Decided then and there that it was high time to pull out the bikes and leave the car for long trips, or trips up to South Hill. (Price of gasoline yesterday, May 29? $4.19. Now even more determined to make bicycling a way of life.)

6) Spent a lot of time trying to get school completed. Still working toward this end. I told the kids yesterday we could finish school in ten days, IF we do 3 math lessons a day, etc... They are motivated, because we've left long division in the dust (or in S's case, set it aside) - and we've moved on to fractions and decimals (they love these!), and next up is geometry: rays, line segments, angles, graph coordinates, etc. Very visual, very geared to their learning style. Things are looking up.

7) Neglected this blog and all yours as well. I will snoop around and catch up with your postings sometime over the next day or so.



Is anyone out there a serious cyclist? I'm looking at acquiring gear to make it possible to transport groceries via bicycle. I could very easily go to Safeway, and even Fred Meyer or K Mart if I needed to - it's all here in the valley. (Don't think I could make it up South Hill!!) Richard, if you're out there... are you still in to this? Where's a good place to get saddlebags? or panniers or whatever they're called? I don't quite fit into this bicycle subculture I'm just starting to learn about. I just have a cheap, purchased-from-Target bicycle that's functional and fits me. Is there a niche for peeps like me? I'm daunted by these racing people.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

grasshoppers, 2; sensei, 1



Ooh, hot off the camera. Two grasshoppers (left and right, above) played a duet tonight - Mozart's Sonata in Bb. The sensei (center) was in the audience, and the grasshoppers were jittery. We pulled it off, though of course we know exactly where the problems were. 98% of the audience, however, did NOT know we flogged a few of Mozart's carefully penned chords at the last, especially since we ended it with a flourish, completely unified. Sensei, not one to waste compliments, was pleased with our performance.

The rest of the South Sound Classical Choir concert went rawther well, also. We listen so much better now, and we don't oversing. Peter, our new director, is extremely good about the human instrument, making sure we don't sing outside our "box of beauty."

I was hoping to be able to post a video/audio of our group, but alas, we were stood up by the sound technician!! He's got two more chances to get this concert, so I hope he gets there tomorrow or next Saturday to do his job! I might have to get irritated with him to get him there, and I dislike doing that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

workin' for the weekend

For several years I have considered Wednesday to be my "Friday."

Saturday is a day of preparation - not necessarily a restful day.
Sunday is the Lord's Day. Imagine how much resting gets done in a pastor's home. Hah.
Monday - the beginning of the school/work week. Tuesday - more school, with the time constraint of piano. Wednesday, more school, and a lot of piano. And usually school AFTER piano too. Gads, do I ever dislike harping on children to finish up schoolwork when it's 8:30 p.m.

So now that the heavy teaching load is done for the week, I'm sitting and knitting in the La-Z-Girl chair. Well, blogging now. I'll have some knitting pictures on Ravelry soon - I finished D's socks, as well as made a pair of Spring Mittens for S. Still chipping away at A's sweater, now nicknamed The Shroud, because that's how long it'll be on the needles...

Did you catch that back there? SPRING mittens. Alaska's been sending their cold air down to Seattle. It snowed last weekend. Snow! In April!! (You high prairie states people just quit your scoffing; I live at sea level and this simply should NOT be--see previous post and consider our blighted hopes... and plants and shrubs...) So anyway, with the bone chilling weather, S. requested a pair of mittens. She dolefully asked, "will these take as long as D's socks?" Fortunately for me, they didn't, because knitting with size 5 needles is much different than size 1's. They were begun Friday night and finished on Tuesday.

Last weekend (the frigid snowy haily rainy one) I worked in the museum at The Fair. Unheated building. I was thinking warm thoughts as I knit that mitten, though, and I had more than one offer of purchase from passersby. My friend Christy ran and got me some hot coffee, so the day wasn't a total freeze out. I informed A. that I would require a HOT meal when my shift was over with, so he lovingly prepared a six-course meal drove me to the Old Country Buffet, where I could warm my hands in the hot macaroni and cheese casserole. Well, I was sorely tempted to, anyway.

Monday we went to a pastors/wives conference up in Gig Harbor. I was not too thrilled about taking the day off from school: WASL testing was last week and we got virtually nothing done school-wise, and I'm feeling rawther behind the 8 ball (did you hear my Eloise accent there?). That said, however - I changed my attitude rapidly once I got there. Not only were Dr. Bob Jones III and his wife Beneth there, but Dr. Jim Berg was also one of the speakers. The overall theme was "Reclaiming Our Teenagers," but for me the shot between the eyeballs was "What is your purpose in life?"

Oh sure, we all know that one from the catechism: To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, right?

Back in the day when my kids were toddling and non-schooling, I kept a yearly notebook to record observations from sermons and things that God was showing me in my study of the Word. At the front of every notebook, I wrote out that year's mission statement. The wording might change slightly from year to year, but the basic gist was always the same: "By God's grace and power, and for His glory, I purpose to: 1) sit at Jesus' feet, learning of Him by His word, loving Him by my obedience to that Word, and living out my faith in expectation of His coming; 2) be an encouraging wife and mother, creating a haven of peace, order and safety; 3) encourage and equip other women to live for God's glory, sharing a current message from a close relationship to my Lord."

Somewhere along the way, I lost my focus. I'm notoriously forgetful; if I don't see it, I don't remember it. Long story short - I switched notebooks, and because the new notebook was not as user-friendly as my previous notebooks, I fell out of the regular habit of using it...and this mission statement (dated 2004) has been out of sight, out of mind.

SO, the circumstances of my life lately have brought my old yearly mission statements back to mind, and I need to get back to the "This One Thing I Do" mindset. That will help me clear away some of the clutter - not just in my thinking, but also in my scheduling (overbooking?) --even to the point of clarifying which activities/choices are best for our family as a whole - does it help or hinder my purpose? All things are good, but not all things are profitable. :)

That's what's rattling around in my brain lately. Need lots of grace to carry it through. Fortunately I have a Father with an abundant supply.

Speaking of a gracious Father, I'm so excited for both Karen and Kari - both of them moms to be, via adoption!! Makes me get all farklempt, in a good way.

Okay, part of that mission statement involves maintaining an orderly schedule; meaning, I get enough sleep so that I'm not tempted to eat my young tomorrow morning when they invariably act up. Talk amongst yourselves.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

gonna be a bright, sunshiny day

Today was the nicest day of the year so far in the greater Seattle area! The weather broadcasters were all nervous, saying "maybe" we'd get to 69 (staying away from the 70 degree mark). When it was all said and done, the high in Seattle was 78 degrees - so Puyallup probably hit 80.

Kids pulled out the Slip-n-Slide, which wreaks havoc on the grass,but I can handle it once a year or so. I prepared early for grilling chicken and made potato salad (I do not possess potato salad skills, but I looked around at allrecipes.com to find something that looked tasty.) I also made an apple pie and some chocolate chip-toffee-pecan cookies. Oh great, two desserts--JUST what I need!

After getting the meals squared away, it was time to play in the dirt outside! I planted my flower baskets and dug up/replanted my strawberries, then sat in a lawn chair to knit whilst the children slipped and slid, creating a mud wallow of the front yard.

Today I also received a call from my credit card company. Apparently they noticed some suspicious activity on my card today, and they were calling to verify everything was okay. Everything was NOT okay, as neither I nor A. had used the credit card at all! Some internet cad attempted to make three separate purchases on my card, totalling somewhere in the vicinity of $140. I thanked the credit card company profusely for their watchfulness. That account is now closed, and we'll be getting new numbers/cards next week. That has me a little paranoid about online purchasing, which is my holiday lifesaver. My Christmas shopping is about 65-70% completed online. The company representative assured me that Paypal is VERY well protected, so no worries there. She said what probably happened is that someone sat down and punched in sequential numbers until they found one that worked - but just to be sure, she wanted to know if both A and I had our credit cards in our possession (which we did, so they weren't physically stolen).

This makes me wonder about sites that don't require the use of the security code on the back of the card - I mean, you have to get all 16 numbers on the card right, and then the 3 on the back, what are the odds, hm?

We'll see what the fallout of this will be in the weeks to come.

It hasn't ruined my bright, sunshiny day, whatever! ;) Tomorrow, though - I won't be seeing so clearly, the rain will be back.

And now that it's sundown, the kids are bathed and ready for church tomorrow, and freaking themselves out by watching a video of Doctor Who -the Third Doctor - hiding behind my green chair so the hissing maggots with fangs and the glowing green stuff doesn't get them.

Bright, sunshiny day - green, glowing night... it's all good.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

geek quiz

Quick, name the tv show! (Linnet, you are disqualified from this)


Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Potato

A pointless song to enjoy. I need to stop wasting time at YouTube :p

The Lord's Prayer

Cute and a half.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

perspectives

Earlier in the week, I sat and drank morning coffee with my husband, who was looking out the window.

"Look at that," he mused, "How long the smoke from the neighbors' chimney lasts."

I turned to look as well, noting the wispy clouds moving and dissolving within feet of their entering the brisk outside air.

What is your life? I said to myself. A vapor... here, then gone.

All the frustrations of school/nonschool homemaking/nonhomemaking - as real and as big as they seem... aren't.

At choir, we've begun singing a song with text by the English poet Christina Rossetti called "All Flesh is Grass." More perspective. :) Here's the poem (with the line that smacked me upside the head this week):

So brief a life, and then an endless life
Or endless death;
So brief a life, then endless peace or
strife:
Whoso considereth
How man but like a flower
Or shoot of grass
Blooms an hour,
Well may sigh "Alas!"

So brief a life, and then an endless grief
Or endless joy;
So brief a life, then ruin or relief:
What solace, what annoy
Of Time needs dwelling on?
It is, it was,
It is done,
While we sigh "Alas!"

Yet saints are singing in a happy hope
Forecasting pleasure,
Bright eyes of faith enlarging all their
scope;
Saints love beyond Time's measure:
Where love is, there is bliss
That will not pass;
Where love is,
Dies away "Alas!"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

about me

Yesterday I received a homemade card from my dear 9 yo daughter, and I just now got around to reading it.

There's a heart with a smiley on the front - and when you open to read the inside, it says in wobbly crayon cursive:

"To the
biggest,
grumpiest,
Mom ever!

I(heart)U
UR the
BEST!"





...I think I need to change the "about me" section.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

cabcree is so cool

....Look what she did for me!! She redesigned our church web site!

This is still (as crafty people would say) a WIP. Any mistakes in text, etc. would be mine. She took our old site and refrubished it so it's more kewwl with CSS-ey things. Mine looked very 90's old school.

And A. still gets his favorite colors on the web site.


So, props to Raba-baba-caba!

Monday, March 31, 2008

rant. please ignore.

True Confessions:

I am unable to successfully home school (keeping children on task and in harmony with God and fellow man), keep a home clean and running smoothly, manage the family finances, keep everyone fed regularly, and keep the laundry from taking over my garage floor.

Do not bother to read my blog for motherly wisdom and chipper bits of advice, because I do not have any to offer.

That is all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Slinky cat

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cats



I enjoy the silliness at ICHC - thanks to Mrs. Blythe and Rebecca for making me aware of the place. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

indoor water feature, part the second

WOOT! (=general expression of joy and happiness)

We just returned from a mini family vacation. Extremely mini - as in, left yesterday afternoon, back this afternoon.

Just one hour south of us near Chehalis/Centralia, Great Wolf Lodge is now open!

Weeks back when I was in a haze with the flu, I stared at the TV mindlessly until the Great Wolf commercial came on. My mind rallied to one thing: A treat. A RE-treat. We so need this. Immediately I tottered over to the computer and made online reservations... planning ahead for everyone else in the family to get as sick as me, and their approximate recovery times... and decided March 27 was The Day to go, because, Lord willin' - we would all be Over It by then.

As we drove south on the interstate, we saw snow on the sides of the road. (Lovely: Spring is here!!) The kids had no clue what we were doing or where we were going, so it was a nice surprise to pull into the parking lot of what looks like a massive Indian casino and announce we're staying here. Even then, it wasn't until they were in the lobby area that they put it together that GWL is a huge indoor waterpark.

Our rooms weren't ready when we checked in at 1 p.m., so they gave us wristbands and turned us loose on the waterpark anyway (my friend Lori had prepped me to bring a day bag along so we could do this). Wave pools! Waterslides! Arcades! Joy!! I was delighted to be in the waterpark basking in the 84ยบ degree "weather" - watching the spring snow drift down and collect outside.

Around 4 I headed back out to the lobby to see if our room was ready yet, and entered a line that wound around several times and back a good ways. Having been to Disneyland and Magic Mountain many times, I could handle the wait. The staff wandered around serving different kinds of cookies and confections to keep us from becoming disgruntled. With time on my hands, I bonded with the four women surrounding me in line. We weren't about to go buy a pair of pants together or anything, but it was nice to chitchat the time away.

Joy! our room was ready (one of my cronies had to continue to wait for her room). They switched out my first wristband for a techno-cool gadget wristband with a microchip in it. It was my room key AND also contained my credit card information, so I could just swipe the wristband at any establishment at GWL and it would charge my account. (I chose not to do this--too easy to spend too much!)

Rooms clean, beds comfy, towels thick and fluffy - granted, the place has only been open for one week. We'll see what it's like a year or two from now! Food - incredible buffet with "real" food - and also some kid-friendly fare like jello, corn pups, pudding, etc. Service - overall, very good. They're still working out some bugs. A. noticed that the men's lockerroom still had tape up from where they had painted; I got stranded in a women's bathroom because there was no TP - and none in the stalls surrounding it either. This almost happened to me in a different women's bathroom near the arcade, but I hadn't committed myself at that point and hence was able to avert disaster. (Lesson learned: look before you leap.)

We turned the kids loose back into the waterpark after dinner until 9 p.m., and kicked them out of the room at 9 am this morning- back into the waterpark. They are TIRED, which was the goal. We had to be out of the room by 11 a.m., but we were welcome to remain on the grounds until 10 p.m. tonight. We opted to stay until a little after lunch, then headed back north. It was a sad wrench for me to leave 84 degrees for 33 and snowing, but the contrast was enjoyable.

Overall, 4 stars out of 5. They'll work out the TP situation and long check-in lines, I'm sure. Now I'm going to be regularly checking on teh internets for deals. Can't beat this family getaway with it so close by!


Happy Campers, Tired Campers, Content Parents




"Oh the weather outside is frightful..."




"...but inside is so delightful..."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

indoor water feature

The must-have thing in today's depressed real estate market is amenities. You know, those cool things that make a potential buyer jump at the chance to place an offer on your home.

D, ever thinking, ever planning, decided to add a water feature to our home yesterday. Taking a handy piece of tape, he covered over the bathroom sink outlet hole - the one near the top of the sink, got it?

He wanted to create a waterfall, and he succeeded.

The water ran over the countertop, filling the drawers, the storage cabinet underneath the sink, and added two inches of water to the (installed just last May) linoleum floor, soaking into the carpet just outside the door to a 6 inch radius.

Things are still drying out. It looks like the top drawer will be permanently warped, though perhaps we managed to save the other drawers, the cabinet bottom, and (I sincerely hope) the linoleum floor/subfloor.

At what age does The Citadel accept new recruits?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

rat race

When I was young and actually running to stay in shape, we had a drill for basketball practice that we called a rat race. (Some other people call it "Lines".) Starting on the baseline underneath the hoop, we sprinted to the free-throw line (touching the line on the ground), then back; then to the half-court line and back; to the farther free-throw line, and back; finishing with a full-court sprint to the other side and back to the starting baseline--all under 30 seconds, or Coach made us do it again.

Since Monday, A. has been out of town at a pastors' conference in Eastern WA, so I've been experiencing to a very small degree what single moms do on a daily basis. It's a rat race!

Monday: Clean house @ Dr. J's, get A. packed and ready to leave; bless my own home by cleaning; get kids to piano lessons; do the weekly shopping; feed the kids and take them with me to classical choir practice for 2.5 hours. D has to miss an evening piano class because I can't be in two places at once. Go home, go to bed. (No school accomplished.)

Middle of the night: S has a nightmare and crawls in bed with me, crying. She later leaves and goes back to her own bed and has no memory of it Tuesday morning.

Tuesday: D wakes up at 0-dark-hundred to watch Jurassic Park 3 so I won't bother him about doing school first. 10 minutes before class begins I remember that D needs to get dressed and ready for band at school. He makes it on time! We have one hour between band finishing and leaving for swimming lessons, so we review long division (with much disgust and disdain from D). Then swimming lessons - and a trip to Costco while the kids backstroke and front crawl. Home for a late lunch and a little more school. Must clean bathroom, living room and piano/dining room of kid and school clutter before students arrive. Make arrangements to practice with flute player for offertory on Sunday. Teach 2.5 hours, finishing at 6. S has piano class at 6:45 so we have time to run to Pizza Hut (where we must needs go whenever A is out of town!) Realize at 6:25 that I had made arrangements to meet the FLUTE PLAYER AT 6:30 and I am sitting at Pizza Hut!!! (DOH!) Call frantically and apologize for my airheadedness and make other arrangements. Get S to evening piano; take D home to practice baritone and piano. Pick up S from evening piano @ 7:45 ("this was the worst night of my LIFE!!!") and return Jurassic Park 3 to the library so we don't have late fines. Rescheduled flute player comes over from 9:20-9:45 pm. Husband calls a little before 10 and I am still dressed to shoes, wishing devoutly I were in pajamas.

Tuesday night: Man, it's cold without A sleeping next to me! I shiver until 12:30 a.m., when I finally get a clue that another blanket will probably help me relax and actually fall asleep. It does.

Wednesday morning: Need I go on? I bailed out on my monthly music teachers' meeting. How can I possibly take the morning off from school, two kids attending the meeting with me - and then teach piano from 1:15 to 5:15? So this morning is an intensive makeup day.

Augh. I am so wimpy, I want a vacation. Yet single moms do this every day, not just for a paltry 3 or 4. So I'll shut up and keep running the rat race.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

too early for a battle of wits

This morning I awakened to the sound of thumping at 0-dark-hundred. I grabbed my glasses from the nightstand and shuffled out to find my son in the bathroom, running cold water. The toilet was covered with saran wrap.

He was not pleased to see me. "Go back to bed!!" he hissed.

Even at 6 in the morning, I can put two and two together. I made him remove the saran wrap and empty the water from the sink.

What ensued was a protracted argument from him about how we never have any fun around here, how we are all boring, and how he is the only one who likes to have a laugh, etc. My response to him involved the inconvenience of practical jokes, how they're only funny to the person doing the joke, and how the world does not revolve around entertaining him and making him laugh.

He remained unconvinced. I wrapped up in a blanket and sat and watched the early morning news, because there was no way I was going back to bed while these thoughts were running through his mind. Sure enough, a few minutes later he was sneaking back to S's room. I waylaid him, and gave him a tongue lashing that NOBODY is to be disturbed during their regular sleeping hours just for another person's selfish amusement.

I think I'll start school now. Clearly this child has too much time on his hands.

What I want to know is, when does this kid SLEEP? He's awake until 11p, up at 5a? I just don't get it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

blessed

Some random thoughts on my recent illness:

I am blessed with a loving husband who cared for me and made sure the kids were fed and clothed while I was in bed for 10 days. As I sorted through receipts to balance the checkbook, I noted how many times he ran out to the store to get me popsicles, gatorade, tylenol, a strawberry milkshake, wonton soup--anything to tempt me to eat something or make me feel somewhat better in my delirium.

My children are actually very considerate people, despite their occasional lapses into selfishness. They were very helpful and thoughtful, asking and trying to anticipate my needs.

I composed a beautiful choral octavo and wrote a witty play all in my head. It remains trapped there. I was stuck in my head for several days, hearing snatches of conversations that didn't exist apart from my brain; hearing beautiful music; enjoying characters that danced across the stage, spouting humor and pathos. It was as if some veil were snatched aside that allowed me to glimpse my inner creativity. I don't wonder now at some artists who experiment with mind-altering drugs. It's all there, trapped in your head, if you can but get the curtain to move.

Flu shots are wonderful things - for other people, apparently. :)

Everything is currently reduced to the basics for me: rest, eat, teach. Rest more. It's nice to have everything reduced to the lowest common denominator. Everything else is just extra. Doesn't need to be done. Today my goal is to pick up the living room. And I will have the help of my family to do it! :)

I am very blessed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's my turn now. I sound like jerome hines and clutch at my aching chest every time i need to cough. Cheerio and be well.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

delirium

Thursday A.M. around 6:30, I heard S. thumping around. Turns out she was sick, poor kid, so there went her WAVA field trip to the bowling alley. D and I went instead, leaving A to take care of his daughter.

Along with the sickness came a tidy fever - 103.8 at its highest. This set off some alarming memories in my skull: 1) kidney infection when she was 3, or 2) Influenza, from 2 years ago when the entire household save myself was laid up in bed for a week (and longer in A's case). The influenza swab at the Dr's office came back negative, but she decided to treat S. as if it were, so we got a prescription of Tamiflu. Unfortunately, we discovered that the Tamiflu makes her sicker. After 3 doses, I gave up. I'd rather have her hydrated and able to keep SOMETHING down.

She slept all day Thursday and on into the night. At 3 am she was wide awake, so I put her (bad mommy, but she needed SOMETHING to do) on the couch in the living room to watch Ratatouille. We were awakened at 6 am on Friday morning with her loud, gutteral sobs emanating from the living room (i can't even find the vowels to reproduce the sound for you, so just imagine it as loud and primal). A and I stumble/run to the living room, to find her kneeling in front of the telly screen, where the DVD main menu for Ratatouille was running. "AUauuauahhhhhh! I CAN'T MAKE WEISS!" she sobbed. (Weiss? huh?) A. reassured her it was okay. She was still pretty upset that she and D were trying to wipe off the laundry and couldn't do it. Finally got her calmed down and back to sleep.


That's been the pattern around here since Thursday. Her temp has consistently been 102 or higher, and she hallucinates when she's sleeping. Her pupils are dilated, and she looks through you, rather than at you. So far she's been rather insistent that there's a robot in the house; that she can "go on top of her head"; something involving a "waterstump" - and other things that I haven't taken the time to write down to remember, but just as whacked out. Then 5 minutes later, she'll truly wake up and have no memory of what has just occurred.

Just now (Sunday night), she woke up crying from her sleep that her neck hurts and she needed help. I helped her sit up, rubbed her neck (she's been coughing a lot), and invited her to take sips of magic cordial (a citric acid based "lemonade" without salicylates that I make for them.) She then proceeded to tell me that her mommy makes magic cordial, and sometimes her daddy lets her dilute it with some sparkling water so it's like 7Up--and did I want some? The beaker was next to the microwave, and did I know where to find the cups in the cupboard? I thanked her for her help.

She's very entertaining when she's delirious.

Now I am watching D. with eagle eyes to see if his turn is next. And I am very thankful that both A and I got flu shots this year.

Friday, February 15, 2008

chef and sous-chef

Our annual Valentine's Banquet was tonight at the church. It's SO NICE to be home before 9 p.m!! In years past we haven't gotten home until 10:30 or later.

Oh, not because the banquet lasts so long... it's because A. and I make all the food. It's our Valentine to the church family. So what with preparing, serving, and cleaning up afterward, it used to take quite a bit of time.

Enter the local fire department. (NOT because I set the food on fire!) No, they recently determined that the huge kitchen stocked with 4 ovens, 2 ranges, and 3 microwaves can only be used for reheating precooked food.

So I prepared the garlic mashed potatoes yesterday and bunged them in some aluminum pans. Chopped up 6 chickens and baked them today. Cheated a bit and cooked the sauce at the church. :) And some of the lovely church family stepped in and did things just to be helpful (and I am not one to scoff at kitchen help)... so we're home early!

And dear Rachel, who's a freshman at Green River, dropped in before heading over to her Grandma's house, and stayed on to be my Saucier and sous-chef!

Here she is. She felt left out with no toque, so she used a crocheted trivet instead.





And voila! Moi, in chef role. And if you don't get the thumb thing, you really need to see Ratatouille.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

charity suffers long

My dear daughter S had piano class at Dr. J's last night. Dr. J just called me up a few minutes ago on her way back from Bible study. She wanted to share a moment S had last evening, so this is secondhand.

Apparently Master Evan had forgotten to provide treats, as he was supposed to do. After a few moments of the young class commiserating over their collective loss, Master Evan piped up, "That's okay... I wasn't really hungry anyway."

S stood up and announced to the class: "Let's all kick him!"


Dr. J just had to tell me what the pastor's daughter said during class.

It appears we have much work to do.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

trying to hold the reins

Ever since my son misread "caterpillar" as "caterpiddle," it's been mayhem around here.

They will certainly remember THIS lesson on arthropods, although not for the right reasons, perhaps.

I will take what I can get. Adieu.

Monday, February 04, 2008

email conference

Quick and easy update: I'm sharing with you, my friends, the email I just sent to the kids' teacher. State law mandates that we have biweekly communication with our supervisory teacher; and this week we're doing an email conference. So, clever me, thinks, "why reinvent the wheel?" and I'm reposting here what I sent to her two minutes ago.


The following is our email conference to Mrs. Shaw, the week of February 4, 2008:

From E: We are VERY TIRED of long division and are looking forward with great enthusiasm to doing Something (ANYTHING) Else. The kids forget the algorithm (Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Pull down) if the dividend gets too large. This is a concept that we'll have to go back to, or just keep reinforcing at the lower levels before trying the 4 (or more) digit dividends. We've already had to make corrections just to pass several lesson assessments. (How frustrated they get when they have to do something over!) On the plus side, just about everything else is VERY interesting right now. History (the Age of Imperialism) and science (invertebrates) are great; spelling, vocab and GUM are usually "no-brainers", and the kids just finished their 2nd novel of the year. Da wants to go directly to choosing a new novel, so I will go ahead and let him do that.

Field trip ideas... hard to say. I pick and choose which field trips to attend, depending on how the school %'s are going for that month. I have a love/hate relationship with the monthly requirements--but since you tell me it's not only %'s, but also hours total, that makes it a little easier. (Did I mention we are VERY TIRED of long division?)

Elluminate classes-- is it too soon for them to learn to begin taking notes? They do enjoy the online interaction and using the board to draw, type, etc.

Also - question regarding Power Glide/k12 partnership.... I checked into it, and I would have to purchase a separate language curriculum for each child. It's still a pretty good deal, though I am wondering - is this something that WAVA will be offering in the future as part of the basic education package? (IOW, should I save up my money, or just be patient?)

Sa chimes in: "I just finished reading Pippi Longstocking. It was the funniest book I remember reading! I would enjoy knowing Pippi as a friend. The next book I plan on starting is a Nancy Drew book."

Da's input: "I am writing a book right now called Children: Adorable Little People or Savage Bloodthirsty Monsters? We're going to be discussing whether we little people are almost perfectly harmless, or savage monsters who raid the kitchen during holiday time. I just finished reading Catherine, Called Birdy. She tries to drive away any suitor that her father brings in. I liked the book because it had many funny parts. I am also writing another book called A Child's Guide to Adults, which will be placed in the library."

(Erin comments: He really is writing that book. It's quite funny.)

Well, that's about it from here. Sounds pretty normal for us, doesn't it?

Cheers and blessings,
E

Saturday, January 19, 2008

FOs and WIPs

FO: Aunt Rose's chemo cap, made from a super soft 100% merino wool by Water Lily . Ann Nordling pattern, but just knitted in the round with no fancy stitches, because according to chemocaps.com, many cancer patients prefer hats without a lot of "texture" on their heads.



WIP: A chain link pattern scarf in "La Boheme" - a double-stranded yarn that didn't photograph well here. The color is African Violet - so there's a pale green, a violet, and a gold color that shows up as a rather unfortunate orange here. This is for me. :)


FO: My Step-MIL wanted PENS for Christmas. Ball point pens. :\ She also told me she likes butterflies. So in addition to ball point pens, I knitted her a butterfly dishcloth. Here it is while being blocked out with jars of elderberry jam. :)
I also made her a dishcloth called "Bobbles the Sheep" because they raise sheep out there in New York, but alas, I failed to snap a photo before shipping it.


Other things in the works: D's pair of socks (just about finished with sock #1) and A's Christmas sweater (an unspecified Christmas). But I haven't snapped photos of those yet. :)

And my SIL Penny gave me some SUPERCOOL sock yarn for Christmas, but I feel dutybound to finish my poor son's socks first, and make some serious headway on A's sweater.

And my other SIL Ruth actually SPUN me some yarn from the sheep at the O family farm in upstate NY! How cool is that? Now I have to figure out how much is there, and what to do with it. Hats and scarves come to mind. ;)

So I'd better get knitting.

christmas unwrapped

Continuing to empty my camera:

We had a Christmas tree so symmetrical it looked fake. I was sick, so the kids did EVERYTHING, lights, decor and all. I weakly waved my hands in the general direction of the tree, mumbling things about not putting all the ornaments in one place, be sure to put the lights both at the edge and deep into the tree, statements which largely went unheeded. They did a pretty good job, actually. Can you find the mole skin on the tree?


I always get a little brave around Christmas and decide to try cutout cookies. I let the kids do the work, because that's what it's all about anyway. (Making kids work. yeah. lol) S. has trouble getting out that stupid bell:



D. finds some sprinkles that are of unknown date and origin and slathers a Christmas tree cookie. I later remember that these sprinkles are leftovers from a gingerbread house making thing I did with my fifth grade students. In 1992. I threw the jar away.


On Christmas Day:
Daddy gets "coal" from D and S



"Samantha," meet S!



D is overjoyed with The Dangerous Book for Boys


Grandma Sandy, recovering from FOOD POISONING from Costco's samples (ghastly! Both she and my husband got it!) - her Christmas dinner consisted of red jello from Safeway.



Grandpa Larry, perpetual occupant of the green chair, opens a gift. Notice the Chairman Mao mug to the left? I knew it would come in handy someday.


Coming up: FO and WIP's!

better late than never

FINALLY I am sitting at the desktop computer and taking the time to unload 3 months worth of pictures! Do you want to see all 121 of them?

Okay, okay, I will be selective.

First, a LONG overdue acknowledgement and THANK YOU to my dear Rebecca, who saw this item, thought of me, and sent it to me from Wiscaaansin:

A "Box of Boogers," picked especially for me! Thank you! The kids have been pestering me to let them EAT them. Sounds just charming when you are out in public: "Mooooommm, can I eat the Boogers now??" :)

Second, it's not every day that we can get together, so here's a photo of moi, Rebecca, Crystal (pre-kidlet), and Lavonne outside Goldberg's Deli at the Factoria Mall (this is from uhh, October, ahem..)


And a tres cute picture of Crystal's and my kids, minus one kid:


Of course, other things happened in October, too, such as the annual Pumpkin Brains Scooping:


And then, The Big Event Itself: Trick or Treating in downtown Puyallup. And I would have you all know that I USED A SEWING MACHINE (yes i did!) and I MADE THAT PIRATE COSTUME. This was a major deal, I assure you. And nobody knew who D. was supposed to be---UNTIL he went to the assisted living place, Merrill Gardens - where of course, all the residents knew he was Harpo Marx!


In November I made a lovely cake for a woman who was marrying a guy she met online...guy being from HOLLAND. He had a cake topper specially made just for the occasion and was very thrilled to be able to have it on the cake.

Here is the simple, elegant design on the cake I made:



And here it is with the topper he brought from Holland. there are no words. none.



December deserves its own post. ciao for niao.